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Weight loss competition encourages accountability and support

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By PETER SAWYER

A local weight loss competition is providing support and accountability for people trying to get in shape.

The Lose it 4 U weight loss competition began about two months ago. With four months to go, contestants are already getting excited about improvements to their health.

“I don’t know of anybody who (has) not had some success at losing,” Campbell County Alternative School Principal Ronnie Lasley said. “As a group we have lost somewhere around 170 to 200 pounds. I personally have lost 22 pounds. Lost a couple notches on my belt. Feel better about my weight and my health.”

Nobody has lost less than half a pound each week at the weigh-ins every Thursday night, Lasley said.

One woman lost nine pounds at a weigh in by simply cutting back on her salt intake.

The participants stated weight loss goals up front.

“I would say I’m on target to get where I need to go,” Lasley said. “I would say other people are too.”

Lasley set 220 pounds to 225 as his target weight. He feels he can reach this goal if he loses about eight pounds a month for the rest of the competition.

“It will take me some time to work off Memorial Day,” Lasley said with a smile and laugh. “(I’ve) seen more hot dogs and hamburgers on Saturday than I should have seen.”

“Everybody seems to be doing it right,” Lasley said. “As a group we are doing things a little more correctly than jumping into a fad-like diet (such as South Beach or Adkins). I think we are committed to working the program.”

The participants in Lose it 4 U are committed to a combination of watching what they each, how much they eat and staying or getting active. They listen to tips from health experts from local health agencies such as Tennova.

The participants in the program meet for weigh-ins every Thursday at either Valley View Elementary School or Castleton’s Fitness. When the weigh-ins are held at Valley View, participants listen to guest speakers, usually health professionals that give encouraging words and health tips. At Castleton’s, they participate in a group aerobic exercise after weighing in.

Even though Lose it 4 U is a competition, most of the contestants are more concerned about health benefits of the program than winning, and view it as a support group, Lasley said.

“I don’t think anybody (is really) worried about who’s in the lead,” Lasley said. “I think everybody’s doing it (for) fun. And supporting each other to get their bodies and lives back in control. I find that encouraging. Everybody’s in it for the right reasons. We’re in it to experience better health.”

There have mostly been different winners each week, Lasley said. He feels this is good because it shows everybody is making progress.

“The biggest thing to me is the support group,” Lasley said. “It works better if you’ve got somebody holding you responsible, and you’re holding someone responsible,” Lasley said.

While the participants are responsible for their own diets and workouts throughout the week, many are involved in some sort of buddy system, Lasley said.

“Part of the program is holding each other accountable for doing what we need to do,” Lasley said.

Many of the women work out together. Lasley works out with Valley View Elementary School principal Steve Rutherford.

“We kind of enjoy doing it,” Lasley said. “Both of us have a lot to gain by losing the weight we need to lose.”

Lose it 4 U is still open for people to join. They are welcome to join for health reasons and to get in shape. But the players in the competition are already set.

“We are still growing slowly,” Lasley said. “At this point, people (that) join are just doing it for the support group.”

There are about 25 people participating in the program.

Lose it 4 U is planning to begin another competition when the current one finishes in the fall. Many of the participants in the current competition plan to participate in the next one.

“That way, we don’t go back into old habits,” Lasley said.